LinkedIn: do SOMETHING a few times a month.

I was surprised by the number of profiles I checked recently on LinkedIn – people I respect, or who have big followings. I wanted to see what they were posting, sharing, and commenting on. What I found is a lot in INACTIVITY. Even with a paid, premium account, no user activity in 2 weeks.  Throwing …

Read moreLinkedIn: do SOMETHING a few times a month.

Google Analytics Annotations: Your marketing diary.

Here is a central place to keep track of your marketing efforts – Google Analytics – the little gray arrow under the bar graph. You can share your annotations with those who have access to your analytics account, or keep them just for your eyes. Google Analytics offers a little gray arrow that is the key to your marketing and website diary.

This is a great way to track when you add new campaigns, new design ideas, change hosts, scripts, launch an ad, promote a video within your site and more. Anything that can cause a change to your website traffic, you can make a note of to see if it did have an effect – positive or negative.

Think of it as a diary, one that you can share or not. You can share some of the annotations, or none – or all. Tell the story of what you are doing to promote your company, product, services, or yourself.

Vanity URLs – keep it short and matching.

I don’t always take my own advice, and with a name that’s not so unusual, sometimes I just miss out. Vanity URLs give your personal brand a consistent message. Ideally – your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ profile vanity URLs are all the same: @susanfinch . No, I was not able to get …

Read moreVanity URLs – keep it short and matching.

Social Media professionals can only do so much, you have to be better!

Most of us were taught good manners. Of that group, some still use them. It doesn’t stop when we are online, though. There are some basic TACTics you need to be aware of, habits to lose and learn when to NOT hit send. Zara Altair had me on as a guest on her Midweek Zap …

Read moreSocial Media professionals can only do so much, you have to be better!

My Love-Hate Relationship with Facebook and Gratitude

Opinions about this social media venue – Facebook – can be mixed, confused, conflicted, or very strong in one clear direction or the other. For business, I see its purpose, its reach and value. It’s an advertising venue that you buy media time in like days of old with magazine and newspaper ads, and radio or television spots.  …

Read moreMy Love-Hate Relationship with Facebook and Gratitude

It’s about telling people you are a trusted authority.

From Lance Fields

This goes along with a conversation on a show I was on with Stephan Havnonian recently on Those4Girls. Why is it important to have a presence specifically on G+? What are the most efficient best practices for your Business Page? What resources are out there to help me build a solid reputation on G+? How …

Read moreIt’s about telling people you are a trusted authority.

Getting Started with Google Hangouts from Ronnie Bincer

I subscribe to Ronnie Bincer’s channel on YouTube. He is THE expert as the Hangout Helper. This 12 minute video was put together so well I had to share it, rather than attempt to recreate. This is your new solution to video calls. Forget the upgraded Skype account – you don’t need it. This is FREE, easy and quick to set up. What he didn’t cover is the fact that you DON’T have to create a gmail account. You can create your Google+ account with an existing email account.

Choose this option instead:

create a google account with your own email address instead
Click on the option to use your own email account if you don’t want to create a GMail email.

If you manage many clients, I would suggest you help them create their individual Google+ accounts with their main email address for the company. This will come in handy for AdWord campaigns, analytics and some of the other fantastic tools Google gives us for the price of tracking what we do.

Once you click the “I prefer to use my current email address” you’ll see this field instead:

g+-current-email
Type in your existing email address. If you switch companies regularly, go back and create a Gmail email account, unless you have your own domain.

Optimizing Your YouTube Channel and How To Use It More Effectively

[one_third]This is a recap of an HOA I participated in with +Mark Vang, +Sean Grace with commentary by +Jose Jimenez. We had a detailed discussion as to how to optimize and better utilize your YouTube Channel. Some of the thoughts here I added because they were NOT covered. Jose’s commentary is at the end.

Remember that YouTube matters because it is indexed heavily and people enjoy, seek out and rely on videos for how to, getting to know a company/brand and to be entertained. With those underlying goals in mind, you need to leverage as many channels as you can to appear in the results and continue to build your brand and message.[/one_third]
[one_third_last]

Ways to Use YouTube:

  • “How To” ideos to position your or your company as the expert.
  • Introductions to key officers, your company
  • Testimonials from clients or strategic partners
  • Public Service Announcements
  • Event recaps or broadcasts
  • Interviews with customers, strategic partners, key team members.
  • Book intros

[/one_third_last]

Many times people toss up a video with a few lines of description. This is a missed opportunity if they end it there. When you create a YouTube video through YouTube, you are able to add a detailed description or recap about the video, mention your brand, your key services, add links to get more information. You can also fill it with key words. The initial tags/keywords suggested by YouTube are based on your description. You may also add more.

But is your channel ready? Have you seen it lately? Here is mine. Do you have a channel for your company or brand? If you are active on YouTube personally with silly videos of pies flying, people crashing and kitties, you may want to add a new channel specifically for business that is branded with your logo/message.

[one_third]We also suggest you invest in a professionally recorded or a high quality video recorded by you introducing your channel and a description for that video telling people what they will learn and find on your channel. My daughter recorded mine as she is learning production at school. I’ll redo it some time, but for now, this means a lot to her. 

[/one_third]

[one_third_last]
Here is a link to Mark Vang’s presentation on Google Drive. The video from the top of this post is also in this.[/one_third_last]

How about that banner graphic? It should match your other banners across the other venues such as Google+, Twitter, Facebook COMPANY PAGE, LinkedIn Company page. Drive home your brand.

Time for playlists. As we have covered in various social media venues, the 70/30 rule, or 80/20 rule applies here too. The bulk of what you share on YouTube or playlists you create should link to others, some may be purely for entertainment, some may promote your members, strategic partners, even your competitors to show groundbreaking information that can benefit all. BECOME THE SOURCE of information on your topic of expertise.

You can breakdown your own playlists by various subtopics such as:
Sports – Baseball, Sports – Football, Knitting, Crocheting – you get the idea. This allows you to add a playlist description – also helpful for SEO and your subscribers. Think of playlists as Pinterest boards – group topics. You can add the same video to multiple playlists, too. You can upload the same video to another playlist if you have a differnt title and description. Sometimes one video covers two major topics and you want to target each of those audiences separately.

So far we’ve only talked about pure YouTube uploads. Let’s add in the multi-faceted option of Google+’s live events, Hangouts on Air or HOAs. With an HOA, you are covering G+ by creating a live event, inviting people, promoting across the other venues with a link for people to register, make comments, share ahead of time. Same branding applies – are you doing this on your Google+ profile, your company page or in a community. If these are all foreign terms to you please see this video which is an overview of the features of Google Plus.

When the event is ready and you create your Hangout On Air from the left menu, it is added to your YouTube channel associated with your G+ profile and posted as an upcoming event on YouTube. At that point you have the direct link to the YouTube video in the making and embed code to be able to add this to your own site and additional venues, invite your panel or invite the public. It’s up to you.

After the event, you are not done. It was wildly successful, you had great participation, questions on Twitter, YouTube, G+. Time to recap and edit the video on YouTube. This is optimizing your YouTube channel further. Many times events will divert to directions you hadn’t planned on. Talk about it. Mention participants, add more key words and put this video into one of your playlists. 

Your playlists can be embedded on your website playing a continuous loop. You can promote your playlists to others inviting them to embed your content on their site – this is great for membership organizations, strategic partners.

What about podcasts? Time to get more use out of your content. If you download the video from Youtube and pull out the audio only using your favorite tool. I use Camtasia Studio for this. You can then upload to your podcast channel on iTunes. You can also do this in reverse. I have a monthly radio show. It broadcasts as audio only. Sometimes I’ll record the show in Camtasia to give me video of my guest. If they are audio only, I’ll get their headshot, company logo, etc. The audio file is posted to the radio site and I produce the video inserting in screenshots, images and sometimes video clips to enhance the audio and then I post it to YouTube. This takes more production, but depending on your guest and topic, it can be worth every extra minute.

Another idea for optimizing your YouTube channel – PSAs (public service announcements). How about creating a playlist of PSAs for your favorite charities or causes? Not only does it give people a better picture of your company and your ethics, interests and view of the world, it benefits the charities. Send them a note when you do this. They may also publicize YOUR channel. Everyone wins.

Here is a list of great examples of YouTube channels that will make you smarter, as gathered by Mashable. Visit these to see how it is successfully done. Try not to be intimidated, only inspired!

Lately I seem to be able to focus on one social media venue sprucing up a week. Any more than that and I’m not earning money and my head will explode. This week is YouTube – it will carry into next week. Look for updates to my channel including new intro videos, more playlists and reposting of some hangouts that I’ve participated in.

The following are comments made by Jose Jimenez as feedback and recap to the event. He was originally set to be our Go-To person on this topic, but was unable to attend. Thank you, Jose for the recap. Mark Vang has also created a post on this event from different angles.

Watch and learn.

Hi +Mark Vang and thanks for an interesting session with +Susan Finch and +Sean Grace. Some really interesting points were raised some of which I will look at going forward. Here is some feedback on some of the areas raised as well as other things that came to mind when watching the hangout:

Content – Before making a video its important to identify customer needs/issues and how you can help them. Videos can be used to help existing customers and for reaching out to new customers so they can serve a dual purpose in some cases.

Repurposing content – Some great points such as the one by Susan about a podcast and using it both ways. I’m working on something similar for a client with a presentation on YT, Slideshare and a post on the website. On this hangout for example you can take a snippet for a specific area, say custom thumbnails, and use this to target relevant keywords.

Intros/Outros – Something to consider for adding to your videos. Similar to a thumbnails as this is a way to set the scene for a video and to finish off with a call to action/contact details. You can also use the outro to get people to view other content.

Playlists – Important to use them as they show up in results. You can add a description to the playlist as well as each individual video (as Susan said). From what I understand this helps from an seo point of view. As with anything social media related, use these keywords naturally. Also, you can add your video to more than one playlist targeting different terms. This can potentially expand your reach.

Unique URL – I think I understood this right but YT does not allow you to change the url of your channel. You can, however, choose to display a G+ name instead.

Tags – Add as many as possible relating the video. Add the most important ones first. Also, look at the keywords being used to search for your video (via analytics) and if relevant, add them to your tags. This could include variations of your keywords for example.

Custom thumbnails – Very important as Susan stated and you can also do a screengrab from a part of the video (preferably relating to what video is about if applicable) and then add words on top of it.

External links via annotations – You can do this by verifying your channel followed by adding your main business website. Thereafter, you have to prove you own/have access to the site and there are a few options to do this.

Why are LinkedIn users slow to adopt Google Plus? An HOA Event 12/4

This is a frank discussion as to why some ingrained, comfortable, successful, and influential LinkedIn users have empty circles on G+ and are obviously are not jumping in to grow their Google+ networks or blend them with their LinkedIn network. This will be a live broadcast event through Google+ Hangouts on Air.

  • Why?
  • How will this affect your effectiveness of Google+ and in the search engines? 
  • Is it just too much – too many venues to manage so they stay where it is comfortable?
  • How can you blend the two easier without using the unique “voice” in both venues – yet making it your ONE voice in branding, networking and influencing?
  • What do they dislike about Google+ – besides the fact it’s not clear that you don’t have to have a Gmail account to set up a Google+ profile?
  • Do you feel that your LinkedIn users that are on G+ treat it more like a business Facebook where they post the cutie images and less relevant items for business?
  • Do you feel that LinkedIn rarely has real people there and engaging due to all of the automation to profiles and groups?

Why LinkedIn Users are Slow to Embrace Google+. We covered the reasons people are so comfortable on LinkedIn and why they find exploring Google+ uncomfortable or unnerving due to the fact it is organized differently with Circles, profiles and all of the other tools that are largely under utilized. We also discussed how when you dive into G+ it can be overwhelming due to all of the notifications that find you everywhere unless you go into settings and tone it way back. Mark, Ronnie and I can help you set up your circles (Mark), create your branded graphics and “about” area (Susan), and Ronnie can help you explore some of the possibilities that Hangouts On Air can create for you and your company.

Mari Anne Vanella of the Vanella Group brought some very real examples of why she prefers LinkedIn and is hesitant to dive into Google Plus. She’s had a successful, well formed group on LinkedIn for years. She is in the B2B arena exclusively.Greg Cooper covered additional scenarios of what may hold people back from dipping a toe into Google+. And Ronnie Bincer – The Hangout Helper as well as Mark Vang offered Mari Anne and the rest of you some great suggestions for getting started in Google+. It’s not about bringing everyone over from LinkedIn, it’s about finding some new connections through similar interests and areas of expertise.

We all acknowledged how powerful content is when posted to G+, YouTube through Hangouts on Air and using your authorship tags Google provides to build your reputation as an expert in your field and increase your rank in search engine results. Google+ is how you can search for topics and those people who are engaging and speaking on topics you are following, companies, strategies. You have the opportunity to check them out on Google+ by viewing their profiles, seeing their posts, who is following them and whom they are following and have added to their circles.

[infobox]REMEMBER: Google+ profiles are about PEOPLE. If your profile is set up under your company name, you may want to change that RIGHT AWAY. Some “profiles” are being flagged when they are a company, rather than a person. PAGES in Google+ are for COMPANIES – similar to LinkedIn and Facebook – Profile – person, Page – company, brand or organization.[/infobox]

The use of Circles and what they are was another big area of discussion. Circles are your way to organize your contacts. Why not do it by how you met them? “Networking group,” “Conference,” “HOA Event,” or how you wish to identify them as prospects: “Potential in 2014,” “Strategic Partner Possibility,” “Dynamic Content.” It’s up to you – you can add people to multiple circles and choose what you share with them, or post it all to the public. There are tracking tools to see your reach as you post content, make comments and engage with your circles. 

[quote author=”Susan, Ronnie, Mark, Greg and Mari Anne”]We issue you a DARE: We DARE you to devote 10% of the time you spend on social media for business to dipping a toe into Google+ with new posts, creating circles and sharing. Then, at the end of 30, 60 or 90 days, track your increased reach – and depending on how much you engage – your new social media effectiveness in search engine rankings. You don’t need to post often as much as you need to post deliberately and ENGAGE with others.[/quote]

We’ll talk about communities in another episode.

——————————–
+Mark Vang+Ronnie Bincer+Greg Cooper+Vanella Group’s Mari Anne Vanella joined me in this discussion.  Remember, this was a LIVE event and can be viewed on YouTube, Google+. You’ll be able to add comments on YouTube after we are live. We’ll have the embed here.

Mark Vang’s post on Circle Management goes nicely with this show.

Adapt or Become Irrelevant: Google SEO Changes – HOA Recap

Guests for this HOA included:

Raj Nijjer of GoDaddy, Ben Fisher, Ronnie Bincer, David Amerland, Joshua Berg, Marc Hardgrove and Hulk Hogan – yes, you read correctly.

+Hulk Hogan. +Ben Fisher +David Amerland +Ronnie Bincer +Joshua Berg +Marc Hardgrove +Raj Nijjer 

Constructive and relative comments by: +Jason T. Wiser and +Frank Gainsford

[quote author=”Frank Gainsford”]his was a very good HOA, and I was very pleased that each guest commented on the ENGAGEMENT ISSUE which is the true measure of a successful post within the social media. Another issue that was hinted at was posts with ZERO ENGAGEMENT… If a post gets ZERO engagement, do not delete it, but evaluate it and try to determine why, then change your approach and try again. [/quote]

[quote author=”Jason T. Wiser”]Man I love that I can watch replays, but so bummed I missed this live! Phenomenal content. Hulk’s business and branding blew me away! I mean of course the man knows marketing, but to hear him lay it out there was inspiring to say the least. What I wouldn’t give to have 30 minutes to pick his brain! +*** this is a long way from one of my favorite Sunday morning cartoons! Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling 01 The Junkyard 500 & Junkenstein Part 1 +Ronnie Bincer’s passion for HOAs exploded, +Mark Traphagen interviewing Hulk is the HOA best 5 minutes of the Year! +David Amerland’s perfectly illustrated connection between semantic web and what Hulk has done in branding is exactly what every brick and mortar a/o small business needs to hear. Branding , emotional connections, commitment to your customers, nurturing relationships… Stop me now! Oh! but wait, +Joshua Berg had to throw out this amazing Tweetable “I believe the winners will be those who reach the user & not the algorithm”. So wonderful to hear form +Raj Nijjer and the changes that are happening over there at +GoDaddy . When it comes to customer support they are the undisputed champion. But the World Champion Belt winner is the orchestrator himself +Ben Fisher you sir, are a marketing genius! Thank you all for making my day wonderful.[/quote]

Some shorthand highlights from this HOA include:

Social media, in general, how much do social signals affect your rankings? G+ has had stronger affect on search than any other social media platform. This is due to ability to verify social entities – Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Realize that profiles have page rank, as do communities, business local pages, + mentions. When someone does a +1 mention, it gives that individual mentioned a ‘win’ in ranking, adds to the engagement of the person +1-ing, and passes page rank authority to those profiles, which then helps people rank higher in search results.

Semantic search is trying to identify the way we operate the web. If we met outside a computer screen, without keywords, etc., no introduction, the reason we can communicate in this fashion is because I can decode your intentions without having to say everything.

We use to use search strings, keywords, tags, etc. This created an unnatural way of linking things up. Fast forward to how it is now.Now this is conversational search realm:

1. Begins to understand the content and the page and what it is; not just the words, but how the meaning connects to an entire subject.

2. Begins to understand what we ask it, not just the words, but the intent. Just the timing of when you ask your smart phone for “pizza restaurants” will give you different results – information based at 9am, locations and menus at 1pm when you would be more likely to want to EAT pizza.

3. It is starting to create an artificial intelligence. Think about this: if we had all of the knowledge of the world in our head, it would be useless unless we can connect it in the context of day to day life. Ask a question and get a more perfect answer – that is semantic search in a nutshell.

Raj Nigger:

What you need to convey clearly with your business brand or your personal brand – YES, we are all our brand!
1. Who you are.
2. What you do.
3. Where and when you do it. 

First questions any consultant should ask you or you should ask yourself – you need to know these answers without blinking:
What is your name or business name, what are your services, and where are your customers

Raj talked about the SEO tool on GoDaddy and the thinking behind it and what it is accomplishing. They realized customers don’t want to sit in front of a dashboard, reports – they need to do the services they do – if you can do your taxes online, you can do SEO.

Authorship and how it impacts search was also discussed.

Google is allowing people to use their G+ profiles to identify themselves and connect themselves with any content on the web.
When it happens consistently and regularly, it gives you authority on a topic. They look at comments, engagement, shares – who are the influential content creators. This is a significant change – Google is not just looking at static phrases and content, but identifying entities on these topics.

It identifies who are the trusted brands.

David Amerland: reminded us that we need to connect with someone at the personal level – something that resonates with them. This is just not personally, but as our brand or product brand. He also reminded us that if you can’t find your audience and relate to them in a unique way – you are just a number and you are disposable. You haven’t given them the specific reason to have them connect with you.

Ronnie Bincer – the Hangout Helper gave us a bit of information on Hangouts On Air and why he is their champion. HOA – the magical communication platform. When you turn on the broadcast button – it’s your own free TV network with endless opportunity for syndication and re-runs/replays. It’s amazing and shows up in search results. Content is king! I’m not saying keyword content – reaching the audience, the user, individual people.

Create your title first – catch the user – not the keywords – GRAB their attention!
This is posting on purpose. Some people and companies feel they don’t have anything to post, nothing interesting to talk about. LISTEN: the conversations you are having on a daily basis with your customers – THIS is what you talk about and post about. Is it a recipe, is it something you are proud about? Is it a new offering? A wonderful story about a customer – that’s content.

Remember to take the identity of a business and make sure it is consistent everywhere – should be the same content, worded slightly differently EVERYWHERE – it is still your consistent message. When Google crawls the web, it checks for this consistency and it adds to your weight it shows you are the authority and consistent.

Watch the replay to hear it all. Take notes. Feel free to copy/paste these notes and add to them.

Overwhelmed By Social Media or Just Lost in Inconsistencies?

It can be overwhelming to have to not only set up the accounts for Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youttube and rest. But to maintain current content, profiles and creating branded banners, icons, avatars, backgrounds that convey your company’s message, the message or your brand or your personal mission can be difficult and quite daunting. Time to get some help.

Set an appointment with me for a 15 minute complimentary consultation. You can decide if we are a fit. Let’s gather all of this information up for you in one simple list of access and ideal update schedule. If you still don’t have the time, I can help you get it all done on a consistent basis.

Just tossing updates up there won’t guarantee people will see your ‘stuff’ or care to learn more. Strategic, clear content is the key to gaining an audience and growing your results organically.